hu·la | \ˈhü-lə \
variants: or less commonly hula-hula \ˌhü-lə-ˈhü-lə \

Definition of hula 

: a sinuous Polynesian dance characterized by rhythmic movement of the hips and mimetic gestures with the hands and often accompanied by chants and rhythmic drumming

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A sinuous Polynesian dance, the hula combines undulating movement of the hips and mimetic hand gestures. The dance is often accompanied by chants, drumming, and music played on instruments such as the ukulele. Originally a religious dance performed to praise the chiefs, contemporary hulas tell a story or describe a place, and are danced exclusively by women. The costume typically includes a raffia skirt with a lei (garland) around the neck.

Examples of hula in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Utilizing some slick visual effects, Grande sways her body back and forth, with the galaxy acting like a hula hoop swaying around her. Connor Whittum, Billboard, "Ariana Grande's Epic 'God Is a Woman' Video, Decoded," 13 July 2018 The basketball court where the Giants spend an hour playing with the kids, jumping rope and hula-hooping (and, yes, losing a massive tug of war), is being used for the first time since the storm. Jenny Vrentas,, "Five Giants, and Those Forgotten After the Storm," 23 May 2018 Rather, the Midnight Circus is a show featuring local performers showing off myriad skills: juggling, musical performances, hula-hooping, acrobatics and more. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do in Chicago this weekend," 2 Sep. 2017 Hanging in the corner is a collection of whimsical items: a rope swing, a shuffleboard table, a hula hoop, a cotton candy machine. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Cynthia Rowley’s West Village Home Is Full of Unconventional Delights," 29 June 2018 At the museum The Green Bay Children's Museum has a 1950s diner to play in that includes a working juke box with dancing and hula hoops. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Take a family road trip this summer to check out these 7 Wisconsin children's museums," 19 June 2018 Three-legged races, hula hoop contests and other games; music; inflatable obstacle course, slide and bounce houses; food vendors; fireworks. Michelle Jenkins, idahostatesman, "Big July Calendar: Month is lit with fireworks, comic con and the Canyon County Fair," 28 June 2018 Earlier in the day there will be bike parade at 10 a.m., kite-flying competition at 6 p.m., and hula-hoop contest at 8:30 p.m., among other activities. Claire Wolters,, "Fireworks on July Fourth: Where to watch them in and near Philadelphia," 27 June 2018 The company sold more than 20 million hula hoops in six months. Alec Scott, Smithsonian, "The Iconic Hula Hoop Keeps on Rolling," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hula.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hula

1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hula


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Dictionary Entries near hula






hula skirt


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Time Traveler for hula

The first known use of hula was in 1825

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English Language Learners Definition of hula

: a Hawaiian dance that has flowing hand and hip movements

More from Merriam-Webster on hula

See words that rhyme with hula Encyclopedia article about hula

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